Saturday, October 01, 2005

Crosby's Time Has Come

Really? Why not tomorrow? Or May 23rd?

From Alan Robinson of the AP:

In the United States, where hockey can disappear for 15 months without many people knowing or caring except for noticing the increased poker coverage on ESPN2, Crosby hasn't played a game yet but already is recognizable among the mostly indistinguishable mass of oft-scarred and stitched-up hockey player faces.

He's not just in the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, but in GQ (with his shirt off) and Vanity Fair (with it very much on). He's already being compared to the NBA's LeBron James for his instant and forceful effect on his sport, not just from a performance standpoint but an economic one. In the three weeks immediately after the Penguins won the draft lottery and chose Crosby - general manager Craig Patrick compared it to hitting the lottery - the team sold more tickets than in the entire 2003-04 season.

"This is huge for us," said Lemieux, the Penguins' owner-player who decided, coincidentally or not, to not sell the team as previously planned within days after landing Crosby.

Much has been made of the media creating a monster, but it's a good thing when the non-hockey types get up and take notice. The only other player with a lot of Street Cred was Wayne Gretzky.

The next time you think Sid the Kid may get too much attention, just remember that it takes such attention to really market the NHL outside of its core base. If Crosby can draw in a new legion of fans, even screaming little preteen girls, I think that's a good thing.

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